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Tuesday, October 1
Updated: October 14, 10:37 PM ET
Bucks have to match four-year, $12 million deal

By Marc Stein

Milwaukee guard Michael Redd, arguably the most enticing name left on the free-agent market, signed a four-year offer sheet Tuesday with the Dallas Mavericks worth an estimated $12 million.

Michael Redd

Redd's status as a restricted free agent gives the Bucks a full 15 days (until Oct. 16) to match the offer, which includes an opt-out clause after the third season that would make Redd an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2005.

The Bucks have maintained all summer they are intent on keeping Redd, who emerged last season as one of the league's top 3-point shooters. Matching the offer, though, will push the Bucks well into expensive luxury-tax territory, and that has Milwaukee management grappling with the decision.

"The luxury tax has been a sore spot for (Bucks owner) Sen. (Herb) Kohl," said Kevin Poston, Redd's agent. "... Either way, it's going to be OK for Michael. I don't think Michael can lose with either team."

While small forward is a position of need for the Mavericks -- as evidenced by their recent pursuit of Seattle's Rashard Lewis -- Redd's importance to the Bucks has never been greater. Earlier in the offseason, Milwaukee dealt Glenn Robinson to Atlanta, increasing expectations on Redd and Tim Thomas.

"At the end of the day, he'll be with us," Bucks general manager Ernie Grunfeld said of Redd earlier this week. "I just don't know which day."

The Mavericks also are faced with the prospect of matching an offer to a restricted free agent of their own. Chinese center Wang Zhizhi on Tuesday signed a three-year offer sheet worth roughly $6 million with the Los Angeles Clippers. Dallas' plan, as of Tuesday night, was to let Wang go without matching if it lands Redd.

If the Bucks decide to keep Redd, the Mavericks are leaning toward retaining Wang so as not to lose an asset for nothing. But that scenario isn't firm yet, given the potential damage it could do to Dallas' reputation in China along with the luxury-tax implications -- although only the first year of Wang's deal from the Clippers (at $1.9 million) is guaranteed.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for E-mail him at

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